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Best Foot Forward

Hello Cellist!

At last, we are going to be together again, in-­person, playing, learning and growing.

We have all had a long, unnatural break in our musical lives and I’m so glad to be able to tell you that the 1-­day Unsung Heroes Cello Ensemble workshops start on February 19th, here in Lewes, East Sussex. More will follow through the year.

I love these days when we immerse ourselves in fabulous music, explore and develop our technical skills and discover new composers and inspiring music. You leave the day with notes to keep the ideas we work with cooking afterwards. You also have a score to share and play with cellist friends, which is sent to you on booking your place.

In March, the Extreme Cello Orchestra Weekend returns with radiant, life-­ affirming music by William Byrd. We take a big, challenging, musical event, which was chromaticism in the last course. This time, it's counterpoint, which cellists don’t come across much. When you do though, you will have had the experience and consequent confidence, to meet the music with more ease.

My intention with Unsung Heroes has always been to open up exciting chamber music that can be enjoyed by players who may have a couple of decades of experience, alongside those who have begun to play more recently. There will always be a part for you to play.

This summer sees two courses! The annual 6-­day Unsung Heroes Summer School has a regular following and welcomes new cellists on board. We have daily classes that develop you as a musician and cellist before we rehearse a wonderful and varied programme, and we often meet up in the evenings too.

The new course, Through Coloured Glass, takes place in August and is open to advanced players and professionals who would like to go off-­grid. The repertoire is made up of jewels of the Renaissance and Baroque eras. We will be playing the programme as a cycle complete with a magical soundscape and the performance is at a beautiful ancient church at the top of town. There is much to say about this! The music is sent out beforehand, so it is well prepared. I used to perform this and can guarantee how wonderful an experience this will be.

Lewes is a lovely place to be. Easy to get around, friendly and beautiful, it nestles in the South Downs and is close to the sea and the homes of the Bloomsbury writers and artists at Rodmell and Charleston. We are also on the railway line direct from Gatwick, so getting here from a flight is straight­forward.

If you have any queries, do get in touch. You can rent a cello here and maybe bring your bow. I can help with B&B recommendations too.
Meanwhile, I have met many of you from afar at the Online Time Line Series and All About My Bow. These classes are here for good and will continue. I love the way that we work so hard, separated by thousands of miles, and yet feel like we are together in the same room, because as musicians, that is what we constantly seek!

If I haven’t yet met you at these classes on Zoom, do check them out as I am getting good feedback from them. The pandemic literally changed the way we work and it was, (and is,) so good to be made to work differently as you also hear and see in new ways too, triggering lots of new ideas.

I do hope all is well with you and that you don’t lose direction or heart. Given the different situations around the world. You need your cello!

I want to make a gift to you of this score: Bogoroditsye Dyevo, Ave Maria. This is music that transfigures you, the world – everything and it’s what we all need. I hope you love it.